The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was a source of great controversy in the 2017 Confederations Cup. It’s also a slow, plodding system with an irritating acronym. Here are 10 things VAR could stand for that would be less annoying.
VAR has been used sparingly since its first test trial in August 2016, but made its major tournament debut in the 2017 Confederations Cup. The system proved to be slower than promised and often manufactured more controversy than it alleviated. No matter, it looks like fans will have to get used to it. Gianni Infantino is backing the use of VAR in the 2018 World Cup.
In honor of how clumsily executed and poorly received the system was, here are 10 things VAR could stand for that would be less annoying.
Video Assistant Review
First, let’s make an obvious change. While technically the professionals that sit behind those monitors during the match are referees, they’re not actually refereeing. They are assisting the referee through video review.
Sure, this is a small change, but small changes can lead to monumental differences in time. Famously, a small piece of duct tape on a door lock led to a President’s resignation. While I somehow doubt a simple name change could ever have the same historical impact, it’s at least good place to start.
VAR is all about getting it right. Was there a goal allowed that shouldn’t have? Take another look and make sure of it. Did the referee miss a handball in the box? Replay the move and get it right.
How can someone trust a system that promises to “get it right” when the name itself isn’t even correct? There are certainly changes to VAR that will come with time to make the system better. The first change should be the name. Reviewing a play is not refereeing.
Things are always a little less annoying when they’re factually correct. VAR’s name is not, and neither are the outcomes to its decisions. Let’s at least get one of those right.